CSA definition of carsharing (January 2010)

Carsharing is defined by its environmental and social purpose, rather than business and 

financial objectives. Carsharing is a service designed for local users in support of
community transit and environmental goals. Its mission, vision and values lead to actions
aimed at decreasing individual car ownership, reducing vehicle miles traveled, improving
urban land use and development, providing affordable access to vehicles for all
constituencies – including those less able to afford car ownership – as well as motivating
residents to walk, cycle and take public transportation, and decreasing dependence on
fossil fuels while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Carsharing is a membership based service available to all qualified drivers in a
community. No separate written agreement is required each time a member reserves and
uses a vehicle. All Carsharing organizations offer members access to a dispersed network
of shared vehicles 24-hours, 7 days a week at unattended self-service locations. Car
usage is provided without restriction at affordable hourly and/or ‘per mile or kilometre’
rates that include fuels, insurance and maintenance. CSO prices are directly proportional
to usage providing an affordable alternative to car ownership, which is its key goal.
Carsharing is primarily designed for shorter time and shorter distance trips as an
extension of the transportation network, providing a public service designed to enhance
mobility options. Longer trips may be available to encourage replacement of car
ownership with carsharing. Carsharing organizations help members save money over the
cost of individual car ownership by encouraging members to drive less often, plan trips
more, use other modes of transportation more, and drive fuel efficient vehicles when a car
is needed.

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